The Most Pressing Foreign Policy Issues (Essay)

free essayAmerica’s foreign policy determines relation of the nation to other nations. The policy also extends into setting standards for the nation’s corporations, organizations, and citizens. Foreign policy works under some officially stated goals. One of the goals deals with the national security by protecting America’s borders from foreign invasion as well as determining the relations between the US and other countries (Drezner, 2008). Foreign policy also aims at conducting free and open trade with other nations, preserving world peace, aiding democracy in other countries, and dealing with humanitarian issues. Currently, the US foreign policies cover several other matters, which include creating and maintaining diplomatic relationships with other nations and international organizations such as the UN, arms control efforts, foreign aid and disaster management, and economic issues (Drezner, 2008). Due to such a wide variety of issues concerning the US foreign policy, it tends to face numerous challenges. Not all expectations are realized, and the greater matters are covered, the more the challenges arise.

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Issues in the US-Syria Relations

Syria currently experiences civil unrest. The conflict in Syria gets different responses from other countries. Thus, some nations support the incumbent President, while others support the international terrorist organization ISIS. Several refugees from Syria escape from ISIS violent acts and the Syrian civil war and seek asylum in the neighboring nations and in the US (Hove, 2017). However, President Trump imposed a ban on immigration of refugees from Muslim countries, claiming that most of them become terrorists with malicious intentions once they get into the US territory. In recent incidences, terrorist attacked Belgium, France, Germany, Nigeria, Afghanistan and several other nations. ISIS and Al-Qaida are the principal perpetrators of such terrorist activities (Hove, 2017). Both of them have their basis in what is commonly termed as the Muslim nations. In that case, America believes that it is one of the targets for attack due to its stand against terrorists. In an attempt to secure its territories and ensure safety for its citizens, it banned refugees and immigrants from the Middle East and other Muslim nations like Somalia (Hove, 2017). Currently, the White House faces a dilemma of whether to commit the US forces to hunt and clear the terrorists from their hideouts or develop other favorable strategies to address the issue. The question of using military forces relates to international diplomacy and the right to invade a sovereign nation. The US stand concerning terrorist and Muslim countries led to a misunderstanding with other countries, such as Russia and Iran. These two countries support some of the groups that America believes to be terrorist organizations, which makes the relationship between these countries hostile.

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Relationship Between the US and Russia

The relationships between America and Russia have not improved since the Cold War period. Even now, the connection is still tenuous. What made the situation even worse, is the recent annexation of Crimea by Russians and their unjustified assistance with rebels in Ukraine (Adelman, 2017). All these activities made the US treat Russia as an adversary of world peace. However, besides all these questionable deeds of Russians, America still believes that a working relationship between President Putin and Trump is a great asset for America. Even though there are claims that Russia had attempted other misdeeds against America in the past, America is ready to rekindle their relationship for establishment of world peace. Among the worst misdeeds of the Russian government was hacking the 2016 America’s election results (Adelman, 2017). America’s security and other critical governmental offices rely heavily on cyber technology. Therefore, if Russia can easily get access to government operations stored on the highly secured sites, then there is an enormous security threat looming. The government is thus worried about Russian impact, which seems to be supporting some of the Muslim nations, for instance, Syria’s President Bashar Assad (Adelman, 2017). The United States attempted several times to establish peace between the warring sides in Syria, but their efforts were futile. In return, the US blamed Russia for the failure of cease-fire negotiations that were taking place between the parties involved in the Syrian war. The Russian intervention in Ukraine and Crimea rekindle the old fears of the Soviet Union. It is viewed by various opponents, including America, as one of their attempts to reclaim the former Soviet borders (Adelman, 2017). It is now feared that the conflict in Ukraine may culminate into a bloody war when the powers involve response in arms. Therefore, the antagonism between Russia and America seems not to end anytime soon. Hence, it adversely affects the goals of the US foreign policy to maintain good relationships with other nations as well as keep world peace. It is now in the hands of Trump’s administration to devise strategies to achieve America’s goals.

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Rising China

China is currently the only nation with the ability to create an alternative to the American-led order. Therefore, making sure that China develops peacefully is one of the America’s prime goals. America and China are the two largest economies in the world (Afridi, & Bajoria, 2010). Therefore, the US can make an effort and stabilize the global economy together with China. However, there is a big challenge with the America’s military power. Since the end of World War II, America has been predominant in Southern Asia and other parts of Asia Pacific. China is currently competing with America in the region regarding military power, asserting itself in the Asia-Pacific region by expanding its territorial claims. Japan and South Korea are the two nations threatened by Chinese territorial expansion in the East China Sea, which may result in a bitter conflict between the nations (Afridi, & Bajoria, 2010). On the South China Sea region, China is expanding its territorial claims aggressively, risking causing conflicts with Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. This kind of intervention by China in the Asia-Pacific region affects America’s relationship with the countries in that region. The countries expect America to intervene and check the influence of China before a bitter conflict erupts (Afridi, & Bajoria, 2010). Meanwhile, the America’s relations in the Asia-Pacific region suffered a blow when the Philippines openly declared to withdraw their alienation to America and shift towards China. It meant that the Philippines separated from America both military and economically. Therefore, it now becomes a big challenge for America to handle such a strong partner and competitor in terms of military and economic power as China. The new administration under President Trump has a tough task ahead. It will be challenging to restore relations that are at stake in the Asia Pacific region due to the influence of China.

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Iran Nuclear Issue

Similarly, the whole world has been worried about Iran’s nuclear deals for a long time. The United Nations is at the forefront urging Iran to reduce enrichment of Uranium; however, Iran seems to be reluctant. Trade sanctions and embargoes have been imposed heavily on the nation by both European nations and America, but to no avail (Azodi, 2016). Although Iran allowed the international bodies concerned with nuclear weapons to conduct an inspection of its reactors to confirm their sharp reduction Iran is now producing nuclear weapons as in the past years. Iran and America signed an agreement on reduction of nuclear production during the presidency of Barrack Obama. However, the new administration is considering breaking the contract and imposing strict policies on Iran (Azodi, 2016). In this case, Iran will be forced to scramble for a bomb to deter America’s hostility. As a result, America will have only two options, either to declare a war on Iran or accept nuclear Iran. Curbing the Iranian nuclear activities seems to be one of the primary goals of the American foreign policy. However, it will not be easy since the relationships between the two nations are cold, making them remain adversaries. The main cause of disagreement between America and Iran is the competition for influence in Iraq (Azodi, 2016). According to America, Iran supports some of the terrorist groups in Iraq, including the Hezbollah, which continues corrupting world peace. Iran also threatens the peace of the allies of the US in that region, which include Israel and Saudi Arabia. Thus, such activities worsen the relations between the two nations, and it is likely that the relationship is going to worsen in the future.

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The US- Mexico Relations

The description of current challenges facing the US foreign policy will not be complete without mentioning about the US- Mexico relations. The relations between the two nations have been tense for a long time. Ever since the US invaded Mexico in an attempt to seize a part of its territory, there have unsuccessful attempts to establish working relations between the two countries based on mutual trust and respect (Rudolph, 2017). In the recent years, particularly after the new administration came into office, there has been a bitter argument between the Mexicans and the Americans. The new American President declared during his campaign rally that a wall would be erected to demarcate and prevent further immigration from Mexico (Rudolph, 2017). Surprisingly, the countries view migration from different points of view. In Mexico, migration is considered both as a mutual benefit and a human right. On the other hand, America sees immigration as a threat. The great influx of Mexicans into America threatens employment opportunities as well as puts more strain on the available resources (Rudolph, 2017). Therefore, the American government works towards reducing this influx in an attempt to preserve employment opportunities for its citizens, which results in increased tension between the two nations. However, it is unclear whether the construction of a wall on the border between the two countries will solve the problem or worsen the relations between the countries.

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Conclusion

Therefore, despite the best intentions of the American foreign policy for its citizens and the whole world, achieving its primary goals is not an easy task. For a long time, the policy has been experiencing many political, economic and humanitarian challenges. Furthermore, new challenges have emerged recently, which are more severe than the problems that existed earlier. The situation in Syria, relations with Russia, Mexico, Iran, and China are some of the new challenges affecting the US foreign policy.